If you haven’t heard of C-V2X communication, 5G Connectivity, or Smart Cities, you’re going to want to sit down—especially once Continental showed us what it has planned for the future of your town or city at their recent news conference at CES 2019.
Continental's Ambitious Plan For Smart City Mobility
Continental isn’t just satisfied with building sensors for autonomous vehicles, though they certainly do that. They’re not stopping at the smart lamp posts you’re going to start seeing pop up in major cities in the next few years.
They’re not even stopping at the intelligent, AI monitored intersections that will save tens of thousands of lives every year.
Continental wants to do it all and then some, starting right now.
In operation since 1871, Continental isn’t some flashy start-up promising the moon for VC funding. They’ve been around a long time and have an established industry base to accomplish everything they promised at their recent press conference on January 7th.
Continental wasn’t the only company showcasing C-V2X or Cellular Vehicle to Everything technology, but Continental’s conference was far more comprehensive in its scope than other names like Samsung or Qualcomm, two heavyweights in the C-V2X arena.
What is Cellular Vehicle to Everything Technology?
C-V2X is a technology that allows for vehicles, infrastructure, and even pedestrians to form ad hoc connections without an intermediary tower. These connections, when fully implemented, will have a dramatic effect on the rate of auto accidents, improving safety, efficiency, and more.
The principle behind C-V2X is that modern vehicles and infrastructure collect an enormous amount of real-time data that we have gotten very good at parsing and analyzing.
C-V2X utilizes the data that is already available to make smart decisions in a complex, dynamic road environment, such as braking when a car ahead of it broadcasts an emergency stop, or when a vehicle connects with road infrastructure like an intelligent street lamp and is notified about a distracted pedestrian crossing the road.
All of this is done without the need for an intermediary connection point, such as a cellular tower. The smart devices connect to each other directly, saving time and reducing computation overhead, improving responsiveness.
What Happens When You Add 5G and Autonomous Vehicles?
Autonomous vehicles and C-V2X do not need 5G to operate at all, but their potential is enormous once these two technologies take advantage of the massive increase in connective capacity 5G will bring. This is where Continental’s conference began to wow the audience.
Using 5G, connected vehicles can extend that connection across an entire city, communicating with a parking garage 30 miles away and reserving a spot.
In one video demonstration, Continental promised that one day, using nothing more than an app, users will be able to order an autonomous electric ride-share to pick them up, or tell their own autonomous car to back out of the garage and come to the front door.
They can then spend the extra commuting time where they don’t need to drive the vehicle being more productive, getting work done, or any number of tasks available through connected vehicle entertainment displays.
Once in the city, users can simply tell the car to park itself in the spot the user reserved from the app and step into a waiting CUbE shuttle that will autonomously take them to their destination.
All along the trip, the road itself is in constant communication with the vehicles, alerting them to dangers, and rerouting them if necessary, all without the occupant even knowing about it.
Further, the data these vehicles collect are passed back through Continental’s Artificial Intelligence systems to better fine-tune the passenger and driver experience.
The Future of Mobility is Connected and Autonomous
We’ll be talking more about the developments from Continental in the coming days and weeks as they reveal and deploy more of their technologies to new test markets and cities, but already, Continental is showing that of all the attendees at CES 2019, their’s is the most ambitious autonomous vehicle connectivity plan we’ve seen so far.